I am a Grass Valley resident and communicate with Mayor Dan Miller and Supervisor Terry Lamphier about twice a year on issues. My emails are short, respectful, and my requests are reasonable. Mayor Miller rarely answers my emails. Supervisor Lamphier always answers my emails promptly, even in disagreement.
Between February 2008 and June 2009, the Grass Valley Redevelopment Agency (which the city council runs) purchased three properties on South Auburn and Neal streets for about $1.1 million. With demolition, consultant fees, etc., the cost is much higher. In October 2013, the city’s consultant valued the three properties at $31,000 to $65,000. While redevelopment is not a profit endeavor, this is a poor return. In 2014, the Grass Valley City Council hired a new city manager for $163,000 plus generous benefits to run our city of 12,000 residents, a 20-percent pay increase over the last guy. Last month they hired a new finance director for $115,000, with possible bonus pay up to $132,000. These salaries are more than Nevada County pays the CEO and elected auditor.
In the meantime, Grass Valley’s rank-and-file employees and their families have endured huge pay cuts between 2009 and now. They had their wages reduced 8 percent and now pay 20 percent more of their medical insurance. They have endured several years of furloughs and additional temporary pay cuts with no salary increase, while the cost of living has gone up close to 10 percent. Nevada County employees have fared a little better and managers are not getting 20 percent raises. Grass Valley increased its sales tax in 2013 and the Special Fire Tax in 2014, while Nevada County’s sales tax is unchanged.
Mayor Miller’s conservative fiscal values are not in line with mine. Both candidates are good guys who serve their communities well. I am supporting Supervisor Lamphier.